There was a methodical running game tempered by penalties and a valiant defense. And a trick play that third-seeded Acadiana High hadn’t called all year which ultimately made the difference.
Regrick Francis’ 59-yard halfback pass to Larryll Greene with 9:58 remaining lifted Acadiana to a 17-14 victory over No. 22 Live Oak in a Class 5A quarterfinal playoff game Friday night at LOHS.
“When we called it, I was excited because I thought it would work,” Francis said. “We saw their cornerbacks coming up to play the run the whole game. It was right there.”
With the win, the Wreckin’ Rams (12-1) advance to host No. 10 Hahnville (11-2). Live Oak (7-6) saw its five-game winning winning streak and history-making season end in the quarterfinals.
Dillon Monette set the pace for Acadiana with 280 yards on 22 carries before leaving the game with cramps late in the fourth quarter. AHS dominated the time of possession by running 57 plays and 363 rushing yards, compared to 32 plays 176 rushing yards for LOHS.
However, 14 penalties for 90 yards, many of which came on illegal shift calls, helped short-circuit scoring chances that forced the Wreckin’ Rams to settle for a field goal late in the first half and then come up empty two other times, including one missed field goal and a sequence in final four minutes that featured six penalties.
“We knew the margin for error would be small, and we knew possessions would be limited,” Live Oak coach Brett Beard said. “Some things came back to bite us that hadn’t in several weeks. Fumbles hurt us. But I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. They really put it all out there, and the seniors leave behind a legacy.”
Sal Palermo ran for 102 yards on 9 carries with a TD and also completed 3 of 4 passes for 121 yards and a score. Palermo's 79-yard scoring pass to Bryson Snapp gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead 40 seconds into the second half. Blake Robinson had two key sacks for the LOHS defense.
“Ever since our freshman year, we said we would be a senior class that would be something else,” Snapp said. “We are going to leave something here. We did everything we could do.”
Acadiana took the opening kickoff and drove 95 yards for a TD. A 60-yard run by Monette was the big play that ultimately set up a 3-yard run up the middle for a score by Francis.
The Rams led 7-0 with 7:38 left in the first quarter. The two option offenses took turns trying to impose their will. Live Oak hurt itself with two first-half fumbles and fumbled again in the fourth quarter.
But the Eagles countered with a big play of their own. Palermo’s 53-yard keeper put LOHS in the red zone late in the first quarter. Palermo scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the second quarter to tie it.
A 42-yard pass from Palermo to Hagen Long had Live Oak at the AHS 27. On the next play, Vontrevious Monette scooped up an Eagle fumble and returned it 19 yards near midfield.
That drive did not lead to points for the Wreckin’ Rams. But the next one did. Noah Anderson’s 29-yard field goal with 41.2 seconds left in the half gave AHS a 10-7 lead.
Acadiana coach Ted Davidson praised both Live Oak and his own team afterwards.
“In games like this you have to overcome some adversity,” Davidson said. “We were able to do that.”